One thing is for sure about Chicago – they got the nickname windy city right! This weekend I headed to Chicago for a 3 day weekend to visit my good friend Lana (and one of my bridesmaids) who lives in Chicago with her fiance. I’ve been to Chicago two times before but I was there for a work training and only got go into the city for limited amounts of time. So I’ve seen the big sites including attending a Cubs game, but I wouldn’t say I know the city well by any means.
I took a super early flight (Thanks Mike for the 5 a.m. ride to the airport!) on Friday and arrived in Chicago in time for lunch. Soon after Lana had to get back to work so I went for a run. I left her house which is near the south end of the Loop and headed east to the river. I looked up a route on Map My Run and figured out there was a path along the river so I’d just kind of go with the flow. Once I got out of the main part of the city, I found the water and a park. I started near a large fountain (later found out this is Grant Park) then headed north. I stopped several times to take photos and enjoyed the gloomy but humid weather and the beautiful surroundings. There were several boats in the harbor to my right and to my left, an ever expanding metropolis. It was beautiful!
After a while I reached what I thought was the end of the path along the lake and started making my way to the West on a path that ran along the river (google says this is the Chicago Riverwalk). Soon I was running in a little boardwalk oasis through the city. I passed the Chicago Tribune building and several others that I didn’t recognize and followed the path until it ended near the Vietnam War Memorial. I climbed some stairs thinking maybe the path continued and then turned around when I realized it didn’t. I took some more photos then headed back.
Once I got back to the path that I thought ended, I realized that it went up and over a bridge instead. Once I was over the bridge, I was right near the Navy Pier. I ran through a small park and ran around the Pier area and then headed North again to the Jane Addams Memorial Park. I ran out on the park which ends with a beautiful view of the city and took (shocker) more photos! I ran back out of the park and then up what appeared to be Chicago’s “beach” on the lake before turning around.
Once I turned around I was greeted with a fabulous headwind, but since I was enjoying myself so much and had no eye on my watch, I didn’t mind. I headed back and went just a bit South of where I started to the beautiful aquarium, and then went home. It started to rain a little bit on my way back but not enough to bother me much. In total I ran 8 miles (longest run since the marathon) and it was an amazing way to see the city!
The rest of my weekend was equally amazing. Friday night we went to dinner and then saw an comedy show at the 2nd City (“Let Them Eat Chaos” – it was a mix of drama, singing, improv comedy and even some rapping – somewhat reminiscent of a Saturday Night Live show in some ways). Afterward we headed to a few bars in the area. The next morning we had the most delicious (and totally not vegan) breakfast at an amazing coffee shop before heading to Lincoln Park to take advantage of the totally free and totally awesome zoo. We walked around the park and then headed into the city for some shopping (in the rain) before eating deep dish pizza and salad for dinner at Lou Malnati’s. Delish! We ultimately decided to make it a night in on Saturday night despite our intentions to make it to local nightclub. We just aren’t motivated to go out on the town two nights in a row anymore!
Sunday morning I headed home. It’s safe to say that Chicago is an amazing city with so many things to offer! I wish I had more time to explore and also visit some of the spectacular museums as well as try more of the innovative restaurants. The best part of the weekend though was catching up with my girlfriend – there is nothing better than getting to spend two full days of quality time with a good friend that you don’t get to see often!
Have you ever been to Chicago? What is your favorite part of the city? Do you also like to go for runs to explore new cities while on vacation?